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News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news and current news events with host Cenk Uygur. New.

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00:59:59

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U.s. 10, Tokyo 9, Us 9, Campbell 4, Fukushima 4, Vermont Yankee 3, United States 3, America 3, Japan 3, Daniel Sloan 2, Chris Warren 2, Haley Barbour 2, Glenn Beck 2, Linda Gunter 2, Reuters 2, New Philly 2, Ken Bergeron 2, Sendai 2, Pennsylvania 2, Gilbert Godfried 1,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Cenk Uygur. New.  

    March 15, 2011
    6:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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again. they talked up a gu infrastructure, hundreds of billions of private money to get this country moving again. real american stuff. i know this cuts across the grain of the times form the governor of new jersey says it's time to tighten our belts. the governor of florida is calling for a stop to building rapid rail. but history won't think a whole lot of them. not roots in the long run, let's hear it for the builders who still want this country to go. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. more politics ahead with cenk uygur. >> the rate to alert a catastrophic nuclear disaster in japan is in high gear. that meltdown could apparently be anywhere between three mile island and chernobyl in its severity. that does not sound good. we'll examine the potential
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fallout straight ahead. but, of course, devastation is already widespread across japan more than 10,000 are dead or missing. hundreds of thousands are home will you see. with 450,000 in temporary shelters. massive domestic and international rescue and relief efforts are under way. 14 international organization and 102 countries, including afghanistan and cambodia, have offered aid. so far japan has accepted assistance from 15 of those countries, mainly in the form of search-and-rescue teams. usaid has dispafd 148 people and 12 rescue dogs. the u.s. military is integrally the relief efforts, "uss ronald reagan" is refueling, conducting search-and-rescue efforts and assisting with humanitarian air drops. that's the use of the military
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that we all love, helping others across the world. that's a great thing. relief teams have a huge job ahead of them, given the magnitude of the devastation you see every day on your screens. let's compare some satellite image that shows you the extent of is the disaster. it shows you the sendai airport about 200 miles north of the epicenter, but also flooded by the tsunami. you see the absolute devastation before and after. now, another set of images shows a village near sendai that used to be home to about 7,000 people, but was completely wiped out last friday. these pictures are stunning. and the fukushima nuclear power plant before the one-two punch released a chain reaction that is still at risk culminating in nuclear disaster, unfortunately.
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is the fukushima dahchi plant. 30 workers remain t. they're desperately trying to cool the rapidly overheating reactors. early this morning, the unit 2 reactor was rocked by a third explosion. remember, we told you last night that reactor 2 was the most important. we were worried that might be an explosion there, and that happened today. obviously it's grave concern. a fire broke out in reactor 4 emitting raddia active into the air before the workers extinguished the flames. levels are more than eight times the recommended level than what people should receive in a whole year. japanese officials say 185,000 people have been evacuated from towns within about a 12-mile
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radius, and one late development this afternoon, the japan nuclear safety agency is saying the roof 6 the number 4 reactor in the plant is cracked. that number 4 reactor had spent fuel rods inside. if those are exposed to the air that could be big, big trouble. it's raising questions about the possibility of another devastating leak or explosion. remember, we have four different reactors with different problems. we've got fires, the cracked roof, the explosion in reactor number 2, and if all of them start having problems, we're going to have unfortunately a whole new level of problem in japan. that's what they're desperately trying to avoid. later the story of those 50 guys inside there are trying to avoid that. joining me is anne thompson, nbc's chief environmental correspondent. first, let's talk about what might have happened because of that cracked roof.
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there are talks of a nuclear crowd. how dangerous is that? >> let me bring you up to date. they are actually talking about another fire at the fukushima 1 plan. now, reactor number 4 you'll remember is where the 1 spent fuel pool call on fire earlier today. i was on a call with some members of a union and i asked how does it catch on fire? apparently what happens is the spent fuel pool is about 45 feet high, and there is -- it's filled with water, and about the last 15 feet are the fuel rods. what they think has probably happened is the water has either evaporated boiled or drained out of it. think melt and catch fire. that's what they think programs caught fire. one of the issues here, even for
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the international atomic energy agency based in vie ena, the u.n.'s watch dog is the lack of communication. they're having problems getting what they feel is solid information about what exactly is going on at this plant. >> i know it's all developing and there is the potential of what might happen, so let's talk about that for one second. could some of these reactors spill over if there's a significant explosion at one? and what would be the consequence of that? >> well, i think what they're most concerned about at this point are the cores actually melting. if the cores melt, they form what's been described as a molten lava, and it gets to the -- goes to the bottom of the vessel and eats away through the concrete vessel and gets out into the environment. that's what they're very concerned about. they're also worried about the radiation and how it moves.
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we heard today in tokyo that officials said levels were higher than normal, but still not a threat to human heft. the experts i talked to today said tokyo will probably have to get used to this. if these reactors keep emitting radiation, radiation particles with travel several hundred miles downwind, and tokyo is just 150 miles south of this plant. >> i'm very concerned about tokyo. obviously there's a huge number of people that live inside tokyo and around it. when you talk about the surrounding areas, you're saying that people outside of that 12-mile perimeter simply need to shut their doors and make sure theirs houses are airtight. if i was them, i might not believe that. that sounds dangerous.
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is that good enough? >> no, i think a lot of experts would not tell you it's not good enough. basically you have only two options in a situation like this, either you stay in a house and issued the windows or you leave and getting out of the way. experts say the best advice is to get out of the way. they don't think the members of the union of scientists that i spoke with today are not big advocates of this stay in your house and shut your windows. what they say people should do is get out of the way. >> i know -- at the same time, in situations like this, this is what i'm sometimes most skeptical of government. when they say duct tape can s p stop -- i'm not buying it. let's talk about getting closer to the plant.
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within the 12-mile perimeter, they have also been evacuated, but there's reports of people who stayed behind to make sure we don't have a meltdown. boy, how much radiation are they suffering right now? >> you know, that's -- we don't know exactly how much radiation they are suffering, and those are some extraordinarily brave people. i think that's all you can say, because they're putting themselves at very grave risk as they try to deep with this situation, and it's a scary thing. you hate to thin that somebody would give up their life to save people, but that's what these men and women who agreed to stay behind, that's what they're doing. >> one last quick question. people of course are concerned in the united states, hawaii is the first line, then the west
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coast, et cetera. is there any chance that cloud comes over here and affects us? i know in this days right now it looks like no chance, but if you had a core meltdown, any chance it reaches us and does damage? >> from what i understand, no. the people i have talked to have set we are not at risk for any kind of -- or the west coast u.s. is not at risk for any kind of potential radiation contamination. in fact today when energy secretary stephen chu testified before congress, achds he met with reports and was asked, there are these reports of runs on iodine tablets and on amazon.com and ebay is selling out of geiger counters. people are taking all these precautions, and he said, look, there's no reason to do any of this. it's a free country, and people can do what they want, but given what they know today, there is
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no reason to think the u.s. is any danger. but it gets back to what you were talking about. people -- there is a great distrust of authority and government, and when the people decide i'm going to help myself, i'm going to protect myself, and that's exactly what you're seeing with thinks runs on iodine pills and geiger counters. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> take care. for more on how the wind and weather affects where the radiation goes, we go to chris warren. >> we're dealing we winds at the surface. it won't necessarily affect the u.s., because you need whatever dispersants into the atmosphere, into the higher elevations. it does 23409 look like that will be the case. we'll see wrinds up to about 10 to 15 miles an hour, and then on
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your thursday, we'll see those gusts up to 30 miles an hour. the key is the winds are going offshore. as we get into the weekend, we'll be dealing with a completely different situation. then as high pressure builds into the picture, we'll see more light winds that is what we'll have to watch for friday and saturday. >> chris warren, thank you so much. it's very important. for the moment being it's a good thing. it's not going to reach the u.s. the fact that it's blowing offshore is a great thing for now. let's hope the high pressure system does not get to a situation where we're in trouble if we have the nuclear meltdown,
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let's hope that doesn't happen. very important to check in on the weather. japan's nuclear crisis turns out to be a 6 out of 7 on the severity scale. what does it mean to be somewhere between three mile island and chernobyl? that's an interesting question, and we'll try to answer that, next. what can you do with plain mashed potatoes? when you pour chunky beef with country vegetable soup over it, you can do dinner. 4 minutes, around 4 bucks. campbell's chunky. it's amazing what soup can do.™
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we're now watching a fire at reactor number 4 that's happening flow. we want to keep you up to date and we will throughout the show, so tune in for more news on that. the united states has 104 nuclear power plants. it turns out they're all under the microscope. what some are calling the most dang are you nuclear power plant in america. that's next.
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the nuclear emergency at the fukushima plant in japan could be approaching historic proportions. the french authority of nuclear safety set off warning bells around the world when it declared the fukushima disaster to be the second worst nuclear accidents of all time. the chernobyl in the soviet union was at a level of 7 out of 7. three mile island, the worst nuclear accident in u.s. history was a level 5 out of 7. asn experts say the fukushima is now at a level of 6 out of 7.
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what does that actually mean? do you remember exactly what happened? it was a long time ago, so i think it helps to refresh the facts here, and these are the facts. three mile island is a nuclear plant middle town pennsylvania. the plant did not breach the containment structure. some irradiated gas was vented from the plant, and pregnant women and children were told to evacuate. there was false fears that a hydrogen bubble had formed, which caused widespread panic, but experts quickly determined that an explosion wasn't scientifically possible. the size of the bubble was reduced and the crisis ended. no one was hurt or sickened. the pennsylvania department of health kept a register of 30,000 potential affected people, but luckily found no evidence of long-term effects.
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chernobyl was totally different it was a nuke la facilities, in april of 1986, a reactor exploded the reactor had no containant structure. it released more than 400 times more radio act sieve fallout than an atopic bomb. the explosion killed two workers, 28 emergency workers died within three months, mostly from acute radiation sickness, in the end 200,000 people were evacuated. more than 1 million people are on a national register as potentially affected by radiation. in fact, about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer have been diagnosed. resettlement to the outermost containment areas began last
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year, almost a quarter century after the accident happened. so what would be the fallout of fukushima? what would that be like? what are the long-term threats of radiation and contamination in this case? my next guest can help. joining me is ken bergeron. he did research for the laboratories in new mexico. let's start talking about where this lies between three mile island and chernobyl. they say 5 out of 7, 7 out of 7, but there's a huge gulf in between. the accident hasn't progressed to the point where the active cory has been released from the pressure vessel. that makes it far less bad than chernobyl. and -- but other it's a lot
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worse that is three mile island. for one thing there's three reactors involved. they're a lot smaller and less capable. they have had to vent a considerable amount of reactivity, so there's been a great deal more release. >> chernobyl was insanity because they didn't even have a containment structure. what happens if there is a meltdown? . in terms of spectacular energetic events, none of these reactors will be anything lying chernobyl. they don't have the mechanism for that neutronic excursion, the atomic bomb-like explosion that occurred there, but in
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terms of health effects, i'm sorry to say it could be worse. >> really? why is that? >> having the release at ground level as opposed to this incredible blast followed by a hot fire at chernobyl will mean that the radioactive material is much more where people live. it was forts nat that so much of it got launched. >> that is interesting. i had not heard that before. does that mean it could spread more or it goes in deeper? what exactly is the implication of that? >> the biggest fear is the cloud will be lofted high enough that it can be transported to various
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population centers, and then settle either by gravity or through precipitation, rain or snow, and therefore end up having a large dose right where people -- very large deposition right where people live. you know, we're talk iing these before the reactor vessel has failed, so it's real speculation, but it could be bad. >> obviously, especially if it goes toward tokyo where there are a number of people. there's a fire at reactor 4. how does that affect all this? >> that fire and the events occurred in the spent fuel pool would be an important worldwide and the amount of that activity is lech as much as in the few rods in the reactors.
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so having a fire as a result of draining down that pool is a horrifically dangerous event. >> so tell me about your current assessment. given all these fires, given we were so worried about what was going to happen in reactor number 2, and it turns out some did happen. now reactor 4, which we didn't expect, is on fire and the roof is cracked. at this point, what is the likelihood that we hit the worst-case scenario. >> in terms of the three reactors that were operational and have had problems being kept cool, we have to hope that the operators continue to be successful in getting waters into your pressure vessels. and continue to do so for many days. that's what's going to be necessary to keep that core damage progression from continuing. if they are unsuccessful, if
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they don't get enough water in any one of these reactors, and the core material slumpses to the bottom of the vessel, that's called an uncoolable configuration, and that decay heat in that fuel could cause the fuel to melt and eventually penetrate the reactor vessel of steel. >> so is that still -- would you call that possible? would you call it likely? i know we're far away and it's hard to determine from here, but i think a lot of people are wondering how bad can this get? where do you think it stands right now? i wouldn't say it's likely. it's very hard to tell. we don't know where the water level is. it's possibility. a lot more possible than i thought it was going to be two days ago. >> that's interesting it's getting worse in a lot of ways. how about the 50 to 70 people there right now trying to put
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out those fires and -- how much trouble are they in with being exposed to that much radiation? >> recent le there was a contingent of 800 workers at the facility. tokyo electric made the decision to pull most of those people once the radiation levels got to some of the levels that have been seen. leaving 50 behind, no doubt volunteers, who knew that they we are putting their lives on the line i have little doubt that many of those will die, and that's a sacrifice that they probably knew they were makingisms that's an amazing story. we'll come back to that story. they're not thinking of bringing in reinforcements and looking at retired people to come in. you see the clear implication of that, partly because they're experts, partly because they're volunteering at that stage. it's an amazing story of
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heroism. ken bergeron, we really appreciate your expertise. thank you for coming out and talking to us. one programming note. tomorrow on "andrea mitchell reports" an interview with hillary clinton. it airing tomorrow attic 1:00 p.m. eastern. as we watch the emergency sun fold in japan, many are saying it's time to rethink or nuclear policy here in america. we'll look into whether that makes sense or not. it looks like president obama wants to push forward, but harry wxman is calling for safety hearings, and he's going to join me ahead. and what some call the most dang are you nuclear power plant in america, and we will get back to those 50 guys inside that plant. it's an unbelievable story. we'll be right back. the little girl was dropped into a deep, dark cave
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there have been heroes in the midst of this enormous tragedy, and there have been some goats. gilbert godfried has been fired for inappropriate jokes he sent out. people have to stop tweeting this nonsense. 50 cent also got himself into trouble with some ridiculous tweets about tsunamis. some people in the political realm have also been incredibly insensitive. haley barbour's press secretary resigned after it was revealed he sent an inappropriate e-mail
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making light of the situation. turner sent out an e-mail that joked on that day in 1968, quote, otis redding posthumously received a gold report for his single, then he added not a big hit in japan right now. as you see bodies washing aschori in japan, that's obviously not humor that's appreciated. i'm amazed he didn't know any better. haley barbour might be running for president, so turner is gone now. there's one guy that can't seem to get fired no matter what he says. glenn beck. you won't be surprised to find out he's said something horribly inappropriate about this tragedy as well. >> i'm not saying god is causing earthquakes -- well, i'm not saying -- i'm not not saying that, either. what god does is god as business, i have no idea.
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but i'll tell you this, whether you call it gaia, or whether you call it jesus, there's a message being sent, that's hey, you know the stuff we're doing? not working out real well, maybe we should stop doing some of it. i'm just sayin'. >> what does that even mean? what did the people of japan do to deserve this? is that what he's saying? that god is punishing them or all of us? what an absurd or sick thing to say. is that what beck's god does, because they've angered them? h how. wait, glenn beck will tell us what god is thinking. hucks terres and frauds have been doing this for century. just for once have some decency. we'll be back. set it in motion...
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in japan, it's a race to prevent a nuclear meltdown. here at home, it may be time to urgently rethink our nuclear power. just go back to what this country's politicians were saying before the disaster. >> nuclear power is one of the cleanest, most efficient sources of energy. the president should commit to expanding it. >> and, of course, president obama as usual was willing to comply. listen to what he said at the state of the union just a couple months ago. >> some folks want wind and solar. others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. to meet this goal, we will need them all. i urge democrats and republicans to work together to make it happen. >> and obama has in fact taken action. last year he announced over $8 billion in loan guarantee. his 2012 budget also proposes $36 billion in loan guarantees for more nuclear power plants.
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that money could go to the construction of up to 20 nuclear plants. here's the thing. now that we have seen high levels of radiation in japan force evacuations of 185,000 people, are we still so sure that nuclear energy is a wonderful idea? let's look at the facts. there's 104 nuclear power plants in the u.s., two are in california right along the san andreas fault. there's been a lot of focus on whether those plants could withstand a powerful earthquakes. but the vermont yankee is the same design as the fukushima design in japan and whose leaks have contaminated groundwater with triduum, or the oyster creek plant, it has the same design as the fukushima. like the vermont yankee, it has a record of leaking radio act
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t tritium. in exchange for closing in 2019, that would be ten years earlier than planned. when you look at all this stuff, i'm not saying it's an easy issue, and i'm going to say something rare for a cable host, i'm not sure where i stand. i need more information, but the dangers are apparent. you see it on your tv screens, so i'll say one other shocking thing here, i agree with joe lieberman. i didn't think that was going to happen. look, we've got to put the brakes on nuclear expansion until we learn some lessons from what happened in japan. that's what lieberman said as well. let's try to learn some of those lessons with the experts. linda gunter is an international specialist for the group beyond nuclear. so, first on oyster creek plant. what is the scenario under which we could have problems? right now we don't have any problems, nothing like japan,
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not even close, it appears to be fine. obviously there was a leak, that was an issue, but chakd cause a significant problem. >> the problem with oyster career is there's significant corrosion to the containment structure. i think you showed your design earlier of what the it looks like inside. the containment is the last line of defense. that's the carbon steel reinforcement. there's a lot of corrosion there, something that our organization uncovered several years ago. so it's vulnerable to collapse. but what we have to remember is that the problems that were caused in japan were not caused directly by the earthquake or the tsunami, they were caused by loss of power. they lost electricity to those reactors, and everything started to heat up, and the cause of a loss of electricity for the grid to go down can come from a number of different causes. it doesn't have to be a tsunami. it could be an ice storm, as happened in the northeast, when one tree fell down, if you
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remember, and the whole of the northeast went out. so there is huge concern when you've got an already vulnerable design that's severely corodded, a very old plant that's been bombarded for year. it's 40 years old, and then loss of power, you're in trouble very quickly. >> can human error also cause this level of problems? i know that's what happened in chernobyl, but do we have enough safeguards in the u.s. where human error wouldn't be an issue? >> there's nothing that you can invent to counteract the possibility of human error. that's always on the cards. there can be a mechanical failure, a human error, there was a human error at three mile island as well, a human error at chernobyl kubld with the fact there wasn't secondary containment. so that's why we feel, especially with the mark 1s, you mentioned vermont yankee, oyster creek, 23 in total around this country with that same design, those reactors need to be closed
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now. we need to put the coffin lid on. >> if there isn't a catastrophic problem, is it still dangerous in your opinion? >> all reactors are inherently dangerous, albeit not on the scale as an accident, but as you know, there's no safe dose of radiation, we're all exposed to natural backgrounds, so there's no argument to say we should have additional doses from sources like nuclear power plants, which we don't need to have, since we have other alternatives, renewable energy and efficiency, but that's unacceptable, but the risk factor at vermont yankee, oyster creek and the other bwrs, the cost is so high, that that risk i feel is unacceptable, and we should close these 23 reactors right away. >> linda gunter from beyond nuclear, your position on it of course is clear. thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. of course, the nuclear industry says they are saying and the
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administration says it's safe. you take everyone at their word. congressman waxman, and other democrats on the house and energy commerce committee are calling for hearings. tell me about that. why do you want hearings right now about these plants? >> well, japan is an advanced industrial country, sensitive to the possibility of earthquakes. they build in the redundancy and all the safety considerations, and yet they're facing this horrible, horrible situation. i think it's important that we learn why those systems failed, and whether the u.s. nuclear industry is able to handle things. they say everything is fine, bud i don't want to take anybody's word for it. we need to understand all the things that can happen and all the built-in fail-safes to stop those things from happening like what's going on in japan. so we've called on the
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republican chairman of the energy and commerce committee to convene hearings and an investigation so we learn exactly what we need to know if we're going to continue down the path of nuclear energy in the united states. we want to know how secure we can be with that, how safe we can feel with it, and are we building in all the safety considerations, or do we turn elsewhere. >> i mean, you take everybody's word with anigra of salt. don't get me wrong. the industry has a lot of money on the line and different activists have their concerns as well. so on that point, congressman, you'll be running up against a lot of money, and they're not going to want to shut down plants or investigations, they're going to want to cheep that churning. how do you fight against that? >> well, i don't think they can stand in the way of an investigation. i'm not out to close down plants. i want to get more information before i reach that conclusion. one of the things that i hope
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will happy is that, while japan has reached out to our nuclear experts to help them, our people here will learn from the experience in japan to make sure we're doing everything to deal with any potential unsafety threat, such as earthquake, a tsunami or whatever the case may be. it could be a terrorist attack into a nuclear facility. i think they have tried to factor in those considerations, but so did japan. so i think it's important for us to get the facts and then make a clear-headed decision. look, we have a need, as the president said, to turn to clean energy sources. we are now so heavily dependent on coal and oil, it's a national security threat, and it's a global climate change threat because of those emissions. the president would like to see these new ways of our meeting
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the cleaner energy strategies. we have to see if nuclear can fit into it. if it can, that's all the to the good. if it can't, we ought to know about it before we go further down this road. >> i'm open to the idea after you investigate, but your argument seem indisputable, whoa, let's check out what happened in japan, make sure our stuff is safe, but the administration at this point does not agree, so how do you address that with the administration. >> whether they agree or not, consequence has as independent responsibility to do this kind of investigation before we say we're comfortable with nuclear power. it's in the interest of the industry. they may not like the people that don't want name hear power, but they certainly have a vested interest in wanting the american people feel secure, if we're
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going to go the direction of more nuclear power, that it's being done without a threat to the safety of the american people. >> i agree with that. thank you, conman, we appreciate you coyning us tonight. in the middle of all this tragedy there's some incredible story of survive as well. the human spirit is an amazing thing. wait until you hear some of these stories. that's next. they're amazing. stay right here. [ female announcer ] you have all this chicken. chicken, chicken chicken. there are thousands of ways to prepare it. [ chickens clucking ] you know only two of them. time to mix it up. time for new philly cooking creme. it'll take your chicken to places it's never been before. somewhere creamier, dreamier, with lots of flavor. look at you all chef-like. spread the love around in four fabulous flavors. spoon in a little new philly cooking creme. spread the love around in four fabulous flavors.
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and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above and still pay the mid-size price. here we are... [ male announcer ] and there you go, business pro. there you go. go national. go like a pro. amid the horror, we have stories of survival emerging. a mand was rescued after 96 hours, a baby. we're going to talk about all that. daniel sloan is the senior correspondent for reuters. he joins me live from right outside of tokyo, east of tokyo, i should say. tell me about that. i understand there was a person rescued from a rooftop. what's that story?
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>> reporter: well, basically in the immediate day or two days after the earthquake and tsunami, there was a gentleman out in fukushima prefecture near the town of soma. the earthquake struck and then the tsunami came, and it completely washed his home and everything else out to sea. he had the presence of mind to grab onto the roof that continued to drift out to sea. it was extremely over the next two days, but referencery he was spotted by a japanese destroyer. eventually a boat rescued him. this had been two days of full exposure to the elements, very cold water, but he jenchually has survived. his wife was not rescued, and this is pretty much true for a lot of these stories we're seeing subsequent to individuals who have been trapped in rubble.
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you mentioned the 70-year-old grandmother. she was in a town called otsuchi which has been essentially wipe off the map. most of those are presumed dead. we've had people trapped in rubble, but some are being pulled out alive. >> that's why hope matters. you have to have hope, and the rescue teams and search teams. the story of the 4-month-old baby is amazing. can you tell me more about that? >> reporter: well, we've had different stories. obviously in crisis situations, you know, everyone's circumstances going into it vary, but we've had babies being born. we've had situations where pregnant women have been evacuated, had their child, and then the family is reunited. a story that really struck me, my colleague rand kim is in otsuchi right now, and we had
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families searching for relatives amid this devastation, but just happened to look on television at that time and found another side -- the mother and father were at a separate rescue station and just happened to be in a broadcast, so a lot of the process as families reunite and find out, because so many people are missing in japan, the numbers are expected -- casualties to exceed 10,000, and still so many thousand it is more are missing. this process is going to take days and weeks. we're still getting survivors, obviously that the 91 international rescue teams are on the ground to help, but it's been a real -- a real work in process. hopefully more will be found. >> daniel sloan, from reuters, thank you for joining us. i said, look, you've got to have hope. it makes all the difference. in this case it's a matter of life and death. god bless tore people working hard to try to find thousands
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people under terrible circumstances. sometimes it makes a huge difference. the eyes of the world are looking at fukushima, but do you know about the heroes inside the plant? that story is next. here's some ways to donate. we'll be right back.
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so we've been telling you all night about the explosions at fukushima. they're desperately trying to make sure they do not have core meltdowns, but did you think about who's doing that? the actual people involved? remember, we've been telling you about the dangerous level of radiation in a 12-mile perimeter, but who's in the middle of the plant where there's the strongest level of radiation, it turns out there's the 70 heroes of fukushima.
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originally there were 800 workers in the plant, 21 were injured, the rest were evacuated. 70 braves souls stayed behind to make sure the rest of the country did not have to deal with the fallout from a nuclear meltdown. they're almostal certainly wearing is it safety packs, but some radiation will get through. the longer they stay, the more dangerous it is for them. according to the u.s. and japanese standards, this morning those workers were exposed to radiation levels 30 times higher than permitted even in emergency situations. they've been using fire equipment to pump seawater in. so far they have weathered the storm through an earthquake, a tsunami, three separate explosions at the plant, a steady stream of fires, and god knows how much radiation, and they're still there.